Thankful for my health, and having been able to witness tidal pools on Hawaii. Just around the corner, the ocean was rockin’.
There’s no better place to capture photographs of rain than a rain forest. I certainly would be hesitant to bring out my DSLR under these conditions, so this is where I have learned to appreciate my phone’s camera. I’m not sure how well it shows up, but there were plenty of large drops coming down when I took this shot near Hilo last summer.
Takeoffs and landings near thunderstorms can be on the turbulent side, but occasionally there’s a visual reward for being this close. I’m sure I was the only person hoping we would sit on the runway longer because I knew the delay would give this view. We were just a couple minutes off from seeing this one full circle.
As you know by now, I’ve spent a significant amount of time in the desert, and I still have a sense of fascination when the rain showers move through. There’s a unique scent that permeates the air, and a sense of freshness with the rain settling the dust. Summer storms frequently arrive just in time for sunset, providing memorable light shows.
While in Hawaii last summer, I made two nighttime crossings on the road near Mauna Kea. On the first one, the skies were clear and the moon had set for the night. The stars were incredible to witness, and I posted that shot about a week ago. On my second trip, I was driving through fog as I made the ascent. Somewhere near the summit, I pulled over. There was still a still a light haze present, but I could see stars, despite the fact that the moon was still visible. As I looked away from the moon, I saw this….I call it a moonbow.
For a nature photographer, trees and their leaves have to be a top subject matter. The photo above was from the forest floor near Hilo, Hawaii. Also from the big island, about 50 miles away was this strange looking one. A pregnant tree? Hmmm.
In the same forest was this one which I call “reaching out”.
I think the trees most associated with Hawaii would have to be palm trees.
Much closer to home, on the slopes of Mount Charleston are my favorite trees to photograph – the bristlecone pines.
I have fond memories of running through the yard kicking up fallen leaves while growing up. That might be a little tough to do with all these boulders, but the forest floor in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona is beautiful in autumn.
Although I spend a fair amount of time photographing nature, it’s not very often I encounter wildlife, especially birds that are close enough to photograph.
While in Calgary, Canada, I encountered many geese with their young goslings in late spring along the Bow River (above).
Last summer, I ventured into the forests of Oregon. I think I got a little too close to the nest of this guy, as he became quite vocal.
During one of my trips to Seattle, I met this beggar.
No tree is an island, but this one came close, and provided a nice resting spot for these white birds near Hilo, Hawaii.
While in Texas last spring, I was able to witness this beautiful heron at the end of the day.
In the unlikeliest of places, on several visits, I have seen ducks in this side canyon of a major hiking trail in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. The water stays year round, but the largest pool is not that big, and the canyon walls are not tall enough to provide constant shade in the 100 degree temps of summer.
Incorporating the sun into a landscape photo can present many undesirable effects, unless you have the right conditions. It usually comes down to having the right clouds. If that isn’t happening, you can use a foreground element to partially block the sun. In the case of the photo above, there was a heavy overcast sky which just allowed enough of the sun to come through over Valley Of Fire State Park, Nevada. This is my submission to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. This is also my post for this week’s Daily Post Challenge: Variations on a theme.
Another shot from Valley Of Fire that includes the sun was this one through an arch. There was another small opening in the rock, and I positioned myself to a spot where the sun was just catching the edge of the rock. This was a matter of inches in either direction for getting the sunburst I wanted, or getting full blown sun flare.
With decent optics, and just a little bit of time in editing, there are times you don’t need anything to filter the sun out at all.
Sometimes, I’ve gotten lucky, and the perfect cloud has moved into place. This photo from the Grand Canyon was one of those moments. The cloud was just large enough to block the sun for about 10 seconds – all I needed.
Of course, there was nothing like the film days, and being able to stop down to f/64 or f/90 with a large format lens. I think there might have been a little humidity in the air to help this one, too.
Back when I shot with a large-format view camera, I would certainly agree with Mr. Adams. Now that I use a camera that can shoot hundreds of frames in a day, oddly enough, I still agree.
I spent time in Hawaii this summer, and I’m sure I have twelve photographs that I like from just the first couple days. When I look at all of the images I have captured this year, and try to envision those which I will still cherish years from now, the process of choosing twelve became clearer. My time in nature was limited this year, but I made those moments count. In some situations I had similar lighting or compositions where I couldn’t really define one shot as a clear favorite, but in the end, I think I’m very happy with these 12.
I don’t own a drone, but I love taking photos from airplanes. This photo from over White Sands, New Mexico looks amazing at full size, with all the dunes at the edge looking like bubbling foam.
My ‘backyard’ location of Red Rock Canyon didn’t see me as much as in years past, yet I had plenty of images which made the A list.
Oregon was another place I spent some time last summer. Although the trip was mainly for a family gathering, I had time afterwards to head to the trails in the Columbia River Gorge.
As I mentioned earlier, Hawaii was part of my travels this year, and gave me many great photo opportunities. My time on the lava fields at sunset certainly stands out as one of my favorite experiences, not just for this year, but for a lifetime.
On my first full day on the big island of Hawaii this summer, I set out to return to some locations that I had visited my previous time there. I hadn’t checked the weather before I set out, so I was unaware that a tropical storm was a couple hundred miles offshore. The first place I stopped at was too wet to get out for pictures, and I thought the day might be a bust. I was pleasantly surprised to drive a little further, and see drier conditions for another spot with fond memories.
I chose my first location cautiously because the waves were more robust than my last visit. The area I picked didn’t have a single drop of water anywhere under my feet. Nonetheless, I waited about 10 minutes and watched wave activity before unpacking the camera and tripod. That first spot was on a ledge about 15 feet above ocean level, and the bigger waves splashed close to that height, but all towards the left. I spent over half an hour there, getting some great stills and video. Afterwards, I moved to some other areas along this point where the water was calm by comparison.
I thought I was almost done, but returned to the first spot, just slightly further back. The contrast between the close rock formations and the ones slightly further, with occasional light splashes of water, gave me a different perspective. I had my shutter release cable attached and my drive on high speed, because you never know what you might get with water splashing. You can always delete the boring ones.
All I will say is that I heard this one coming. Instinct told me to keep holding the shutter. This is not a telephoto shot, but actually a bit of a wide angle lens. Somewhere under all that airborne water is the spot I had been standing earlier.
This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week. In the first week of the month, there is a theme, with this theme being up in the air. To see what other photographers have contributed, or instructions to join in, please visit Leanne’s website.
As is probably obvious by now, I have a fascination with the desert. The plants, features, textures and moods always provide reasons to explore further. Although I have experienced serenity in the desert, I’m not sure I have images that convey that mood – especially to those who have never truly explored those same places.
I think there are many who would agree that oceans are a great place to find serenity, especially on a remote beach at sunrise. I find that sunrises, in general, tend to be more peaceful and calming than sunsets. Perhaps because they signal the start of a new day, often witnessed alone. Almost everyone I know thinks this is not a good time to be awake yet. That’s OK. More serenity for me to enjoy.
I can find calm settings just about anywhere in nature, but I think forested mountains would have to be second on my list, right after oceans. Having a lake or a small stream is certainly an added element of calming.
I spend a fair amount of time in airplanes. By allowing myself to get distracted looking out the windows, I find this can become very calming, especially when flying over seemingly infinite cloud cover.
Also making my list would have to be any moment when witnessing a rainbow. This one happened to be from an airplane. Ahhhhhhh!
- Feature photo: Early morning on a black sand beach in Hawaii
- 2nd: Same beach and morning as above
- 3rd: Sunrise from Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
- 4th: Small lake in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah
- 5th: Infinite rolling hills from the Black Hills, South Dakota
- 6th: Minimal cloud cover over the Gulf of Mexico
- 7th: Sea of clouds somewhere over Texas
- 8th: Rainbow upon approach to Sacramento, California
On my first trip to the big island of Hawaii, we had lucky timing with the volcanic activity. The day before I took this photo, a lava tube broke, and all the lava was now running over the hillside instead of underneath it. I wanted badly to get closer to this spectacle, but the viewing area was roped off, and there was a security patrol to make sure nobody went where they weren’t supposed to go. Or so I thought. The viewing area closed at 10 pm, and at 9:55, three men came walking from the other side of the rope and in plain sight of the guards. None were wearing ranger uniforms, or showing anything indicating authority. I remember thinking “Who are they, and how the hell were they allowed out there?” I couldn’t make it back on this trip, so my thoughts of trying to figure out how to get past the rope were not going to make a difference anyway.
What you are looking at is not the source of the eruption. There was so much lava coming down, that this was where it met the ocean, causing it to shoot up in the air 300-400 feet. It was really hard to fathom the size of this event, and it wasn’t until I looked at the images blown up on the computer screen, that I saw that those men were in a couple of the frames providing a sense of scale.